STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON JOINT LOCAL GOVERNMENT
|Time:||02:01 PM to 03:53 PM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|JBC overview of budget for DOLA|
JBC overview of budget for GEO
Briefing by the Department of Local Affairs
Introduction from Local Government Stakeholders
Senator Schwartz, chairman, called the meeting to order and made opening comments.
02:05 PM -- JBC presentation of DOLA budget
Senator Tapia, Joint Budget Committee, introduced the members of the JBC, including Representative Pommer, Representative Ferrandino, Representative Marostica, Senator White, and Senator Keller, JBC chairman. Senator Tapia talked about the briefings between JBC and state departments and explained the requirements of the JBC to present the budget oversight of the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to the Joint Local Government Committee. Senator Tapia presented the budget request for the Department of Local Affairs DOLA and referred to the summary report on the JBC budget briefings for FY 2009-10 (see Attachment A). Senator Tapia discussed the latest economic forecasts, which predict a significant short fall for the state budget. He discussed the process of supplemental bills and re-appropriated funds, which are funds that are initially appropriated to a department, but transferred away from the department for other uses by the state. Conversation ensued between the JBC members and the committee regarding the need for budget cuts and the state budget for FY 2009-10.
Senator Tapia provided an overview of the DOLA's budget request to the Joint Local Government Committee. Senator Tapia explained that the department uses .2 percent of the State General Fund, which makes up 4.8 percent of the department's budget. The remainder of the department's budget is comprised of 72.3 percent cash funds, and 20.8 percent from federal funds, and 2 percent from reappropriated funds. Senator Tapia discussed different funding sources received by the department, including severance tax, federal mineral lease dollars, waste tire funds, and gaming and lottery dollars. He addressed the department's budget history and discussed the actual number of full time employees (FTEs) in the department. He explained that the department had been appropriated funds for 180.5 FTEs for FY 2008-09 and the department is requesting 6.1 additional FTEs for FY 2009-10.
Senator Tapia continued with his description of the department's FY 2009-10 budget request and addressed a question about how the budget requests are being considered in light of the economic downturn. He discussed Senate Bill 08-218 and the changes made by the bill to the allocation of the state's portion of federal mineral lease revenue that is available to local governments through the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program.
He also talked about $53.1 million in Federal Funding to Colorado from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for neighborhood stabilization plan (Attachment B). Funds were distributed to state and local governments throughout the country to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. Five grants were allocated in Colorado with $34 million going to DOLA with the remainder divided to among Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Adams County. Members of the JBC addressed questions from the committee concerning the distribution of federal funding for housing assistance for local areas significantly impacted by home foreclosures. Representative Marostica addressed questions from the committee concerning the federal HUD funding and state fleet reconciliation listed in the department's budget.
02:37 PM -- Overview of the budget for the Governor's Energy Office
Senator Tapia explained that the oversight of the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) is the responsibility of the Senate Committee on Local Government and Energy. Senator Tapia discussed the charge of the GEO, and explained that funding for GEO and it's 27 FTEs is primarily funded by federal grants. Committee discussion ensued regarding the future funding of GEO, the possibility of reduced federal funding for GEO, and the GEO needing more state funding for future budget responsibilities.
Senator Tapia addressed questions from the committee concerning the largest impacts of the state and federal economy. He explained that sales and income tax depletions are the largest negative impacts to the state budget. The committee also continued to discuss the impact of severance taxes and local property taxes on local and state budget. Representative Pommer discussed the state economy and referred the committee to a diagram in the JBC document, which shows the income of the state budget. Senator Tapia discussed limitations placed on the state budget by Section 20 of Article XX of the State Constitution (TABOR). Representative White discussed TABOR and the new base in FY 2009-10 that will be set. He also discussed tourism funding by the state and the importance of supporting the tourism industry in the future.
02:52 PM -- Briefing by the Department of Local Affairs
Susan Kirkpatrick, Director, Department of Local Affairs, introduced herself and division the heads of the department's five division to the Joint Local Government Committee. These divisions include the Board of Assessment Appeals, Emergency Management, Housing, Local Government, and Property Taxation. Director Kirkpatrick explained that the department's responsibilities include supervising local property tax collections, administering state and federal low-income housing programs, providing technical assistance to local governments, assisting local governments in capital construction, community services, emergency preparedness and response. She distributed the department's report to the joint committee (Attachment C). She discussed the functions of DOLA, the department's relationship with the Colorado General Assembly, and department's focus on improving the quality of life and creating "liveable" communities. Director Kirkpatrick talked about the goals and challenges that were met by the department during 2008 and the upcoming goals and challenges for the department in 2009.
Director Kirkpatrick discussed the State Board of Assessment Appeals, county boards of equalization, and the process for property assessment appeals. She introduced Diane Fechisin, Director of Board of Assessment Appeals, to address questions regarding the workload and process of assessment appeals. She discussed the department's Division of Emergency Management, and the loss of the role of homeland securities grant management for the state.
Director Kirkpatrick, discussed the department's Division of Housing and explained the success of the division to receive federal funding to address foreclosures in 2008. She discussed the changes to the allocation of the state's portion of federal mineral lease revenue that is available to local governments through the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program.
Director Kirkpatrick and Kathi Williams, Director, Division of Housing, addressed questions about the foreclosure assistance and how the department works with lenders and borrowers. Ms. Williams discussed the process of assisting home owners and working with lenders to avoid foreclosures in the state. She addressed questions about the status of the housing markets, the number of foreclosures affecting property values in the housing market, and the possibility of assistance through legislation or a tax increase. Ms. Williams discussed federal funding that is received by the division from Community Development Block Grants, Home Funds, and Emergency Shelter Grants. She explained that funding was decreasing from the federal government and she discussed recent federal law changes affecting the housing market and need for future changes at the state or federal levels. Director Kirkpatrick outlined positive changes made to the various housing grants programs in order to require more accountability.
Representatives Soper and Peniston thanked the department for an informal informational meeting at the beginning of the legislative session. Representative Vigil thanked the department for their cooperative efforts with the General Assembly and complemented their efficiencies.
03:10 PM -- Introduction from Local Government Stakeholders
Chip Taylor, Director of Legislative Affairs, Andy Karsian, Legislative Liaison, Chip Mendez, Legislative Liaison, and Pat Ratliff, Lobbyist, all with Colorado Counties Inc., introduced themselves to the committee and described their role with the organization. Committee members received two documents regarding Colorado Counties Inc. 2009 policy statement and legislative agenda (Attachments D and E). Mr. Taylor said their organization takes an active stance on 200-300 bills each session related to issues and concerns to various counties. He discussed some issues that are of concern for the 2009 legislative session, including: unfunded mandates, the possible elimination of the business personal property tax credit, transportation, the allocation of severance tax. Mr. Taylor continued to give an overview of the legislative issues listed in Attachment E. Mr. Taylor answered a question from the committee about various acronyms used on the handout.
Erin Goff, Senior Staff Attorney, Geoff Wilson, General Counsel, Mark Radtke, Legislative and Policy Advocate, and Kevin Bommer, Legislative and Policy Advocate, all of the Colorado Municipal League (CML), introduced themselves to the committee and described their role within the organization. Committee members received a 2007-08 Annual Review, published by CML (Attachment F) and the CML 2008-09 Policy Statement, published by CML (Attachment G). Ms. Goff reviewed CML's legislative agenda for the 2009 session. Senator Schwartz thanked the CML team for their presentation.
Dan Slack, Chief Executive Officer, and Kevin Lindahl, General Counsel, Bill Clayton, lobbyist, and Tony Lombard, lobbyist, all of the Fire and Police Pension Association (FPPA) introduced themselves to the committee. Mr. Slack explained that the FPPA is a government-appointed board that manages a retirement fund for all municipal police and firefighters in the state. Mr. Lindahl spoke about two bills that FPPA is supporting for the 2009 legislative session. House Bill 09-1030 will address firefighter and police officer pension plan compliance with requirements set forth in the internal revenue code. Second Bill 09-017 will address firefighter and police officer disability and survivor benefits. Mr. Lindahl explained that both bills were recommended by the Pension Reform Commission. Mr. Clayton responded to questions concerning the old pension plans. He said the existing pension system is one of the best in the country. Mr. Lindahl responded to questions about the death and disability plan that will be addressed in Senate Bill 09-017.
Chris Howes and Jim Driscoll, both of the Howes Group, a lobbying firm that represents the Colorado Retail Council and Emergency Medical Services Association, introduced themselves to the committee. Mr. Howes and Mr. Driscoll talked about upcoming legislation of interest to their clients. Mr. Howes gave an overview of the interests of the Colorado Retail Council and spoke briefly about the decline in sales figures during the holiday season.
Evan Goulding, Executive Director, Mary Zuchegno, Director of Research and Policy Development, and Don Eberle, Lobbyist, all of the Special District Association of Colorado (SDA), introduced themselves to the committee. Committee members received a Legislator's Guide to Special Districts, prepared by SDA, (Attachment H). Mr. Goulding explained that there are almost 700 special districts in Colorado, including hospital districts, park and recreation districts, water and/or sanitation services districts. He talked about the growth of new special districts are metropolitan districts in the state. The typical special district is only authorized to use property taxes and not sales and use taxes. Mr. Goulding gave a brief overview of the issues of concern to special districts for the upcoming legislative session.
The committee adjourned.